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How Le Wagon helped me turn my startup MVP into a true product

I had started with a very drafty MVP before Le Wagon but the complete operating platform was built from scratch as a project in the final weeks of the bootcamp.

Featuring graduate Luciano Montezzo Founder in 99hunters More about Luciano
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What brought you to study at Le Wagon?

I heard about Le Wagon in Brazil thanks to one of its founders Fernando, who I had met at SartupFarm, the accelerator he was working in at the time. He knew how painful had been my first experience at launching a startup without a CTO. I have been working with tech startups in the last four years. But the lack of coding knowledge made me feel like an illiterate trying to open a bookstore... It was hard assessing developers and I felt vulnerable in every negotiation, I was left with believing whatever the provider would tell me because I was completely unable to assess his work in any way. To the point that I thought of going back to College to get a CS degree...

Did you have any concerns before joining the bootcamp?

My main fear would be to feel completely lost and not understand a damn thing, or to learn stuff that I would not use on my day to day. My background is in humanities, so I was way out of my comfort zone. Will it be too hard? I had this prejudice that you’re either one of those geeks or you’ll never understand a thing (clearly putting myself in the second category). Would I waste my time and money?

How were you reassured?

My confidence grew little by little during the bootcamp. Obviously I dedicated 100% of my time and focus to it. I wanted to learn as much as possible, doing every optional exercise and asking as many question as possible to the teachers. And I started to really get a grab of what I was doing. I never felt lost. The way the bootcamp is structured helped a lot, I felt lucky I trusted the pedagogy so much. It was meant to show you getting better every day and understanding that things you could not even dream of building a few days back were now “easy”. The final weeks were awesome, everything comes together and you end up almost disbelieving what you’re now able to design. I still have a hard time imagining learning so much in only 45 days.

What was the best part of your bootcamp experience?

The greatest part is the interaction with other students. The level of experience and talent in my batch was really high. The group dynamics was excellent and as you get to seat everyday with someone new, you end up being teaching a day, learning another. This buddy system helps you a lot to accelerate your learning, because having to explain it is the best test of you “getting it”. And also you don’t want to abandon your buddy, the group pressure and energy makes it impossible to miss a day and help you feel super motivated. But the best part is the final Demo Day, where you transform everything you learned into an online product. You felt realized :) My group’s project was a marketplace for headhunters called 99hunters, an idea I had before the bootcamp with a very shameful MVP. We built the platform from the ground up and I have been running my startup (acting as CTO/CEO) ever since. Totally worth it!

What was the transition out of Le Wagon like?

I did not enter Le Wagon to find a job, like most of other students of my batch. My intention was to be able to make my startup idea become a reality. And as I managed to convince a group to work on it, it was super fruitful. But the main change in my life is that I completely lost this feeling of “imposter” I had working in tech without understanding code. I keep learning a lot, I now know that I can learn anything. When I look now at your slogan “learn to code, change your life”, it is really what happened with me.

What are you up to?

We have a marketplace connecting companies with key recruitment challenges to a network of headhunters. It’s a project I had started with a very drafty MVP before Le Wagon but the complete operating platform was built from scratch as a project in the final weeks of the bootcamp. We have a good traction, with a monthly growth of searches and headhunters registered on the service.

What was the most valuable takeaway from Le Wagon for you?

Useful knowledge :)

How did attending at Le Wagon help you with ?

As I managed to convince a group to work on my startup idea, it helped me getting something that would actually work… I had users and an online page but with the help of the teachers, we made all the good technical choices to have a scalable platform that grew for the last year without major bugs.

Who would you recommend a coding bootcamp to?

For everyone interested in tech startups. Whether or not you will actually be coding part of your startup is not the issue, doing the bootcamp will increase tremendously the level of tech discussions that are at the heart of your business strategy. If you want to be involved in the creation of digital experience, it’s a no brainer. And if you simply look for a job, there is such a need for tech skills in the market that it’s your best move to increase your prospects. And no, you no longer need 4 years of University to engage in a coder’s carreer, good recruiters will look at your portfolio (you’ll get one with Le Wagon) and your mentality (doing a bootcamp is a good proof of your will to learn new 21st century skills).

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